By: Founder and Chairman of the Board, Preben Brandt
Through the past decades, it has constantly been the residing Minister for Employment who has been in charge of the part of the social policy, which has included social benefits. Therefore it has been stated over and over again that working should pay off. The social security level is not measured according to whether the social benefits should be able to cover the costs of a worthy life but whether it is low enough to make people choose to have a job.
Working should be worth your while and the only medicine, you have been able to conjur, is to lower the level of social benefits and then call the policy something as misrepresenting and embellished as fair or modern. On the other hand, the human costs for those who do not work, or besides lacking work have other social or existential issues are made invisible or frivolously explained away.
A few days ago, the Minister of Employment said on television that no one will be poor or homeless because of the new social security reform just presented by the Government, How does he know? Unfortunately, he did not say. Not least the apparently rash ensurance that nobody will loose their job due to cuts in the social security aroused my curiousity.
Unfortunately, the webside of the Ministry of Social Affairs does not give any answer, either. It just says in a press release of 15th September that the Minister of Social Affairs and the Interior, Karen Ellemann is annoyed that there are more homeless today than when she last held the office in 2009.
Obviously, I know about homelessness and the path into homelessness that the Minister for Employment and I have long had the feeling that we can expect a new kind of homelessness; a homelessness emanating from poverty, which you could call ‘poverty homelessness’. I would to give two reasons as to why I am strongly convinced that it will be so and why the Minister for Employment is not right.
For the past fifteen years, there have been cutbacks in the social security with upwards and downwards fluctuations especially afflicting young people. The increase in the number of homeless is related to an increasing number of young people becoming homeless. It is not unlikely that there is a connection here, is it.
The past decades, homelessness has been closely connected with serious psycho-social issue and substance abuse, but the last homeless count shows that every third young person in urban areas does not have such issues. This is ordinarily interpreted as an indication of lack of suitable housing, but it may just as well be an indication of that the young people living on social security and for less obvious reasons cannot find education or a job are too poor to be able to pay for housing and that it especially affects young people who are slight weak socially and whose parents cannot afford to help them economically.
In England, where the pressure on public benefits have existed longer and is harder than what we have yet experienced in this country and where more and more people live on wages below the poverty line, reports show that more and more homeless state poverty as the reason for homelessness.
I worry that ‘poverty homelessness’ is becoming a serious social policy issue in the coming years, at first growing slowly but then rapidly increasing. Provided that the greedy, liberalistic financial policy is not changed.